If these images don't make you want to practice yoga somewhere new--on the streets of NYC, in the dessert, outside on a farm--I don't know what will!
Remember Robert Sturman from my post a few weeks ago? I'm obsessed. And as I've recently learned, so are a bunch of other people, ever since The New York Times "Well" blog featured a bunch of his images in a slideshow entitled "Turning Yoga Into Art." So today, I'm sharing a few of my favorites below.
If these images don't make you want to practice yoga somewhere new--on the streets of NYC, in the dessert, outside on a farm--I don't know what will!
As I *may* have mentioned once or twice in the past few weeks, I'm SUPER excited to be a part of Artomatic this year. So, to celebrate, I wanted to share some images of just a bit of the work that I saw at Artomatic last week--taken during and after my shift at the show. Keep in mind that there are over 1000 artists participating in this event, and I only worked on 2 floors in the 5 hours that I was there (and 9 of the 11 floors are FULL of art!), so these images are just a tiny sampling. The pics below show a wide range of the work there--I've included pieces that I love, pieces that I think are totally weird and perplexing, and pieces that show just HOW different all of the art at Artomatic is...
You can click on the images below to enlarge and/or scroll through the gallery. Also, just so we're clear, lots of these pics show details or cropped versions of larger paintings or installations (for some, I just took a pic of the part that I liked or wanted to remember...). If you want the names of any of the artists listed below, post to comments and I'll share with you :)
And there's a whole lot more where that came from, so if you want to see more, visit Artomatic!
All of the info is below:
1851 S. Bell Street in Arlington (right across the street from the Crystal City Metro)
May 18th-June 23rd
W-Th: 12-10pm, F-Sat: noon-1am, Sun: 12-5pm
*I'm on the 2nd floor, in space 169*
See you there!
I have a confession to make: I am an over-the-top, obsessive-compulsive, can't-live-without-them, can't-function-for-even-a-minute-without-them list-maker. Truly.
The images above are not a joke--they are the lists that I'm currently using on a daily basis (all are "in use" right now!)--and this doesn't even include the lists in my planner, which is honestly just too revealing to show you here ;) Crazy, huh? Are you, too, a list-maker extraordinaire? If so, I want to take a moment today to bond over our shared obsession, so I've put together the handy list below (hehe!). Read below for my thoughts on what it takes to be a true OCD list-maker...
You know that you're a total over-the-top, obsessive-compulsive, can't-live-without-them list-maker if you've ever done one or more of the following:
1. Added something to your to-do list after you've completed it, just so that you can check it off of the list.
2. Made a to-do list or schedule that includes a bullet reminding you to make another list.
3. Created a rough-draft for your to-do list (or made a to-do list, and then, after crossing off a few things, made a new to-do list an hour or so later).
4. Made a to-do list or schedule that includes a reminder to "shower," "take a nap," or "relax."
5. Drawn little boxes next to each item on your to-do list so that you can literally put a check in the box as you complete the item (as opposed to just marking it off of the list).
6. Categorized a to-do list by hour, day, chunk of time, or mindset.
7. Had more than (1) to-do list going on at a time (see above!)
8. Found an old notepad that was completely used up--with a different to-do list on EVERY SINGLE PAGE.
9. Tried to tell someone else how to make or organize their to-do list (in college, Ben put "drink more water" on a to-do list. To this day, I am still trying to make him understand why you can't put things like that on a to-do list--if you can't ever mark it off, it doesn't belong on this type of list!)
10. Made a list that lists all of the ways that you know you're an OCD list-maker ;)
So what do you think? Can you relate? Have you done one or more of the items included on this list?
If so, you may be entering what Ben has recently called "A Beautiful Mind territory" when it comes to list-making. Scary but also slightly amazing to feel so organized, right?
And now you have just a bit more insight into my daily life...
Happy list-making, fellow organizers!
The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.
-Thucydides (Greek Historian)
Happy Memorial Day, bloggies! I hope that you're reading this at home, or while sipping tea outside at a local coffee shop, or by the pool (or any body of water!), and are taking some time to treat yourself to a real day off today.
Aren't 3-day weekends such a luxury?
As I've gone about enjoying the past few days during my own mini-staycation, bustling from wedding to-dos, to bbq's, to class, to the park, and back home again for a good night's sleep, I realized this morning that I hadn't spent any time thinking about what Memorial Day truly means. Doesn't this often happen with our national holidays?
Since I don't have any close, living family members who are veterans, and only know a very few people who are in the service (and none who have died while serving our country!), I feel somewhat removed from this day and it's meaning. Don't get me wrong--I really do feel a sense of gratitude for those who have spent their time, energy, and in some cases, given their lives protecting us--but I feel like I don't often think about all of the people who have died to allow me to live the life that I live.
So today, I encourage you to take a moment to just think about what this day is truly about. Maybe send a silent "thank you" out into the world and to those who have fought for you, or send a little loving energy to the families of those who we've lost to war, or dedicate your practice to our veterans, or honor them in any way that feels right to you. No matter how you feel about war or government or politics, I think it's super important to remember that we're all connected, and that our freedom should not be taken for granted.
Does this mean that you shouldn't enjoy this day? Absolutely not! You should bask in this gift of freedom, do whatever makes you happy, and spend time with loved ones, eating good food and soaking up the sun (wearing SPF 80, of course!), because really, enjoying life and being present in this moment is what it's all about.
And with that, I'll leave you with a yogic mantra that embodies my thoughts on freedom:
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Meaning: "May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all."
For a visual reminder on what this day is about, check out this poignant Elephant Journal post about it.
Now enjoy this BEAUTIFUL day!
Well hello there, Memorial Day weekend, thanks for being here so soon!
I hope that you're as excited as I am to be heading into a long, warm, holiday weekend, and I know that you're also ready to kick back , relax, and get outdoors a bit--I hope you can! But, before we move too fast (you can tell I'm already there!), lets take a moment to reflect on the simple, sensory joys of the past week.
What brought you happiness over the past 7 days? My moments full of simple, sensory pleasure are listed below (and FYI, they're just for the past 5 days, since I did an extended/belated version of SJOTW on Monday, after my amazing Nashville wedding weekend)...
Image via centre.edu
Hear: The Washington Post Blog article "Five Colleges Where Students Study" by Daniel de Vise
When I heard about this article and the fact that my alma mater, Centre College, was featured, I wasn't surprised. I also wasn't surprised when De Vise wrote that Centre "has the highest average for freshman study time (20.5 weekly hours) of any school [he] found." Yep, sounds about right! But, I was surprised by the quote, “It's not uncommon to see people closing out the library on a Saturday night.” I would like to say that I do think this is fairly uncommon at Centre (definitely not the norm!), as Centre students also really do know how to have fun. Really. But either way, I was proud of Centre when I read this, and yes, we definitely worked hard there!
Painting by Claudine Itner (intner.net)
See: Artomatic 2012 (opened last Friday!)
Yesterday, I worked my second, 5-hour volunteer shift at Artomatic. It was great because not only was I able to help out and give back to an event that I really believe in, but also, while working I was able to see a bunch of amazing art. I took a lot of pics and will share them sometime soon, but honestly, I was just amazed by the amount of talent that I saw on just the two floors that I was in charge of monitoring. People are SO creative! And the other fun part was seeing how people hung their shows, painted their walls, and labeledl their paintings--everything was so different. Haven't made it to Artomatic yet? It's open Wednesday-Sunday from 12pm-10pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays it's open from 12pm-1am--with three bars, live music, and lots of shows. Stop by! It's a BLAST and is open through June 23rd :)
Taste: Homemade Greek Yogurt breakfast parfait
I am obsessed with this breakfast, and have been eating it for weeks now. So, when I realized that I hadn't shared it here, I felt crazy! It's a simple joy every single day! Here's what it is: Trader Joes Plain Greek Yogurt, blueberries, sliced strawberries, walnut pieces, and Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola. DELICIOUS! As you probably already know, there's a total Greek Yogurt craze going on in the nutrition world lately, as it has double the protein and half the amount of sugar as conventional yogurt. Plus, it's much more creamy! You can tell that I'm a fan. So grab some and make your own parfait today...I think you'll be a convert, too.
You know when you just kind of forget about a fruit that you really like? That happened to me with bananas recently. I just forgot about them, and went along eating my normal favorites--apples, grapefruit, strawberries, and blueberries. And then this week, I happened to pick up a couple of bananas at the grocery store, and I've been really enjoying them. Such a perfect, filling treat! Especially when you haven't had them in a while. And yes, as long as you don't have bad bananas, they sure do smell good! Banana bread, anyone?
Touch: My new OtterBox iPhone case!
Although I didn't chronicle my recent iPhone tragedy on the blog, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Two weeks ago, I dropped my phone on a very hard, concrete surface, and the screen shattered. Shattered! It was horrifying and also pretty scary, because it showed me just how obsessed I am with my phone. I was heartbroken--I mean, heartbroken, which is something that I really need to work on (non-attachment, anyone?). But, luckily, I was up for an upgrade (and when I found out in the store I literally cheered outloud!), and was able to get a new phone. But this time around, I got an OtterBox case. Word on the street is that these things are basically indestructible, but I'm not going to test it out. Once I got one, Ben was so jealous that I had to get one for him, too ;) Oh, and obviously, I love how it feels. Now my beloved phone is safe from the world!
So see? Sometimes it's the most simple things in life that bring us joy--like bananas, or an OtterBox case ;)
Now, go enjoy your Friday and your holiday weekend! We've got lots planned, including wedding stuff (registering, buying wedding bands, etc.), a fun BBQ with friends, CrossFit & yoga (of course), a long bicycle trip outside, and maybe a swim on Memorial Day...
Be sure to spend some time out this weekend--it's supposed to be a beautiful one! And don't forget to stop and smell the roses, or daisies, or peonies...
As I was organizing and cleaning up yesterday, going through a bunch of old paperwork, I came across the following card that was sent to me in the mail a couple months ago. Although I had forgotten what it said, I took a moment to read it again, and was blown away by the simple beauty of what is written...
To me it's saying, "stop and smell the roses! Enjoy life!" Take it all in--the pleasure, the pain, the little things.
My favorite lines?
" I send you the willingness to sit with any pain and watch it melt and change shape as you soften. I send you a midnight card game with someone you love, and laughter that fills the room."
So I'm passing this wish along to YOU today, as a hope for your day, or for the upcoming holiday weekend.
I send you self care.
Today, I thought we'd look at some very whimisical art featuring people and birds. That's right--two different artists depicting people doing something with birds. Peculiar, isn't it? So lets get right to it...
Artist #1: Dominique Fortin
A Montreal-based artist, Fortin's work has a very ethereal, fairy-tale-esque quality to me. Her paintings seem to reside in the childhood world of play, and of magic, and because of this, I couldn't enjoy her work more (I was a big believer in fairies when I was young!). She does a wide variety of paintings of various subject matter, but I've only included the works that contain birds below. You can view more of her work on her website, here.
Artist #2: Elizabeth Mayville
Although her work is extremely different than Fortin's, I adore Mayville's paintings because of their style and peculiarity. Straightforward, yet totally bizarre, I'm in love with her portraits of people with birds on their heads, which I've included below. I mean, how funny, right!? But if you take a look at her site, you'll see that Mayville is an EXTREMELY talented painter, whether she's depicting people, wildlife, or still life. I love her style, and hope you do, too! You can view more of her work on her website, here.
Makes me want to paint some birds, you know?
So here's to a day full of whimsy, playfulness, and the somewhat bizarre ;)
Ever since I took a workshop on the Thoracic Spine, Shoulders, and Upper Arms with the amazing Megan Davis , I've been hyper-aware of watching out for my students who sink, or slump, into down dog. What do I mean by this? I mean the many people (myself included), who have extremely flexible shoulders, open hamstrings, and hyper-extendable elbows, who can do a down dog that looks like this:
Although yes, this may seem correct to some (and some schools of yoga will teach this as the "right" way to do downward-facing dog--especially since this picture is of Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar himself!), what I learned last month is that anatomically, doing the pose this way is all kinds of crazy for the body. This sinking, slumping, head-towards-the-ground version of adho mukha svanasana = an injury waiting to happen. And here's why:
1. The shoulders are hyperextending. When we do this, we are not engaging the proper muscles to keep the shoulders in the shoulder girdle, and thus, are not strengthening the muscles it takes to stay in this pose for long periods of time, and instead, are putting unnecessary stress on the connective tissues and joints.
2. Often, when we hyperextend the shoulders, we also collapse through the wrists, and in turn, hyperextend the elbows. Same things here as above (hyperextension in yoga is not good!).
3. When hyperextending the shoulders, we also often hyperextend the spine, or at least collapse through the spine and make downward-facing dog into a backbend. It's not supposed to be a deep backbend, and since most people who collapse into down dog in this way aren't engaging the proper muscles, turning this pose into a sinking, loosey-goosey backbend can cause compression between the vertebrae in the spine.
4. If your heels are touching the floor and you tilt the pelvis in order to sink into the shoulders and spine (and again, turn down dog into a backbend), it can cause overstretching of the hamstrings or hamstring attachments. Especially if you practice a lot and therefore, spend a lot of time in down dog each day.
5. For most students who practice down dog this way, it can cause a lot of crunching and clenching in the shoulders, as the shoulders often get hugged in towards the ears in order to sink the belly forward more. If you roll your upper arms away from your ears and draw your shoulderblades aware from your ears, you can create much more space in the neck and shoulders.
Here are two more examples of what I am talking about here:
So do you see what I mean? Look at the backbend in the picture on the right! Look at the crazy hyperextension in the shoulders and elbows!
Now, lets look at two examples of correct anatomical alignment for the shoulders and spine:
See the difference? In these images, the spine is long (no backbend), the shoulders are engaged, the neck is in line with the rest of the spine, and the wrists and hands are active and engaged (thus freeing up the elbows and not putting too much pressure on the joint). Just looking at these versions of the pose makes me sigh with relief.
So how do you ensure that you're not doing this in your own practice? Well for starters, you can ask your teacher to check out your alignment in down dog. And you can also take a look for yourself. Come into the pose and look at your elbows--are they hyperextending (bending a little past straight)? If so, bring a gentle bend to the elbows, and then turn your upper arms away from your ears and draw your shoulderblades down your back. Check out your wrists--are they active? If not, spread the fingers wide and press the pad of each finger into the floor. Check out your spine--do you feel like you're in a bit of a backbend? If so, pull the bellybutton in towards the spine and lengthen out the low back. Turn your gaze towards the place between your feet to lengthen the neck.
Ahhhhh, much better, no?
I've been making small changes in my own adho mukha svanasana lately, and it's felt so much better. I think that my problem is that it's honestly easier for my body to sink into the pose (relying less on the muscles and more on my natural joint flexibility to hold me up), and so when I'm tired, my body naturally sinks into the pose and I let it, creating bad muscle memory and incorrect patterns in my body. It's been really nice to come back to the more active, aligned version of the pose when practicing, and I know my joints will thank me later :)
And with that, I'll leave you with an amazing image that I found while googling down dog--don't you wish we could all work like this all day long?
Although honestly, I'm a little worried about her neck...
Whew! I'm back in town! And after a whirlwind wedding weekend for my dear friend Leigh's nuptials, I have LOTS of Simple Joys to go around. So, today I'm changing the format a bit and sharing a bunch of my Simple Joys of the Week for last week AND last weekend (because I could never skip a week of this blog series--it's too much fun!). Take a look below for some images and short lists of my SJOTW for the past week or so...what were yours?
Hear: "Escape" by Enrique Iglesias (old college favorite that was played at wedding!), "Shoop" by Salt n' Pepa (rapped the ENTIRE thing with the Best Man on the dance floor...it was epic), "Springsteen" by Eric Church (one of the theme songs of the weekend), hearing the wedding vows & ceremony (sorry, no pics yet, but it was one of the sweetest ceremonies ever!)
See: Good friends, wedding decorations, the blushing bride all dressed up and ready to go, the "yoga dance" that my friend Laura (also a yoga teacher!) and I made up on the dance floor, our bowling shirt gifts that we wore for their Big Lebowski Rehearsal Dinner at a Bowling Alley...
Taste: Wedding cake, champagne, vino, all of the amazing wedding food that was served for dinner, and late-night pizza ;)
Smell: Wedding flowers and bouquets, fresh southern air, LOVE in the air ;)
Touch: Rollerskates (yes, we did go rollerskating after bowling on Friday night...it was hard!), playing frisbee in the park with Ben (last week), getting my hair done, mani-pedis and an extra-amazing massage chair, doing the "Bernie" on the dance floor (my new fav dance!)
As you can probably tell, the wedding was an amazing one. The weather was *almost* perfect all weekend (we had one tiny shower, but it was over before the ceremony), the bride was the most relaxed bride I've EVER seen, everything was beautiful and went off without a hitch, and we danced our faces off at the wedding. Not to mention that my flights there and back went smoothly and we had plenty of time to just sit around together and catch up. It was also wonderful to see how in love and how ready the couple was to get married--I've never seen a groom who was so excited, either :)
Now back to real life, right? I hope your past week or so was full of many sensory joys. Here's to another week full of the wonderful, small, simple things in life!
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful, so inspirational, so powerful as the woman below? I'm smitten.
Her name is Tao Porchon-Lynch, she's the world's oldest living yoga instructor (at 93!), and she was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records last weekend. Take a look at a few gorgeous pictures of her practicing yoga, taken by Robert Sturman, below...
If I can do any of these poses at 93, I'll be extremely thankful. Ah, the power of yoga!
Thanks to Robert Sturman and Elephant Journal for sharing this amazing story.
And now I'm jetting off to Nashville for the weekend to be in my dear friend Leigh's wedding :) Have a glorious day!